New Delta State president Bill LaForge says his first three weeks on the job at the Cleveland school have been like “drinking out of a fire hose.”
The Cleveland native and DSU graduate has taken part in student forums, faculty forums as well as meeting with the Institutions of Higher Learning in Jackson.
“It has been a great opportunity,” LaForge said. “To be a part of all of that and to immerse myself before the summer … I’m gearing up and I am ready to go.”
LaForge, in a meeting at the Mississippi Business Journal, says he has two major challenges …
» Budget — He says the school is going in with a zero-based budget and everyone will have to live within their means.
» Student recruitment — Finding more and better students for the university is a priority.
He also is making some very serious personnel choices, which LaForge says will be made public as early as “the next few days.” Positions being replaced are …
» Chief Financial Officer
» Athletic Director
» Dean of Arts and Sciences
As for initiatives LaForge wants to push through, his agenda does not lack for excitement.
First is an international blues conference that would bring in people to present papers and lectures as part of an academic center LaForge describes as “kind of like the Falkner program at Ole Miss.”
Second is a racial reconciliation conference in which there have already been marquee visitors lined up, which likely will be slated for some time next year.
Third is an international exchange for faculty and students. LaForge is already working on this as the university is likely to announce in the near future agreements with universities in Poland and Russia.
» See the entire interview with Bill LaForge below.